Wednesday, August 31, 2016
The Tale of the Accidental Yogi
I'm an accidental Yogi. I was introduced to Yoga because on an injury, but before I speak about my injury I'd like to mention I became a vegetarian in 2004, a year and a half before my injury. I feel this is important because it sort of led me to Yoga, but more on that later. I should also mention I was in the fashion industry and only used high heels. For everything. Ok. Enough back story.
In January 2006 on a rainy week day I was walking into work, from the parking lot, and as I stopped at the front door, I fell. My right foot slipped on the concrete and kept going, making me fall onto my left knee. I tried to stay straight up, but couldn't. I heard a crack in my back and fell back onto my head. I was so embarrassed I didn't even care if I was injured, I just wanted to escape.
I went into the employee lounge and assessed the damage. A Human Resource employee saw me and immediately had me sent to the Employee Clinic. While there they took X-Rays and stated I had a sprained back. I was released and back to work I went, being told to contact the clinic if I had any further pain.
Six months went by and one day I went for a 15 minute walk, which uncovered my real situation. I couldn't hold my back up and it went out. I hadn't realized the gravity of my injury until that moment.
I went to Cedar Sinai and received an MRI. They scanned my back and saw a 4-5mm herniation in my lumbar between L4-L5. Yes, that detailed. The Specialist said surgery was routine for my back injury. I was 29 years old. I did not want back surgery. The Specialist suggested walking, swimming, and Yoga to help heal my back, stating some had healed completely with yoga. He also said no more high heels! To which I cried and died. I felt as if my entire identity has been robbed from me, and I was lost. Had no image, no idea who I was outside of my superficial self. Had no knowledge of inside self, at all. I fell into a depression which lasted about 2 years.
I was sent to therapy, and introduced to Yoga, or rather therapeutic exercises, for 12 weeks. After that, I signed up for the local Y and swam. For 2 hours a day, religiously, I swam. The backstroke, to be exact. I was focused and dedicated on strengthening my lower back. Which I did, and then some! I did this for 2 years. I even ended up teaching their Aqua Aerobics class! My back was strong and I was happy. In 2007 I ended up being an assistant manager at Dancing Shiva Yoga & Ayurveda.
While working there I became enthralled with Yoga and Ayurveda! I took class every day, I ate accordingly, I was heavily into it and soon slid into Brahmacharya. I avoided everything and everyone. I began to strengthen my spirit, mind, body! My life changed immensely, for the better, after finding Yoga and Ayurveda. It allowed me to open up and be raw about life. I stuck with the Yoga and Ayurveda and able to birth 3 children, with no surgical assistance. I attribute that to Yoga, and God, of course.
I currently suffer from chronic pain if I do not practice yoga. If I eat badly, my back becomes inflamed. I stay active and practice yoga daily to maintain and manage my back pain. As a recovering alcoholic, I don't believe in taking pain pills, so I do my best to use food as my medicine. Part of my healing process involved removing pain pills from my life, they were easy to get, because of my injury. Those pills only masked my pain, and kept me in a daze.
Yoga healed not only my physical self, but mental, and spiritual bodies as well. It continues to do so, everyday. My Yoga journey was so different, because I feel it started when I went vegetarian, before asana. My injury is a reminder on my humaness, but Yoga reminds me that I'm not the body, and not the mind. My Health is in My Hands. I am empowered!
You can too! What are you waiting for?
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-the Breath allows the Flow and you Thrive-